About Postpartum Depression

 

 

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Postpartum Depression (PPD, Postpartum psychosis) is a type of depressive disorder that affects a number of mothers after giving birth. The intensity of this depression ranges from moderate to severe. It can occur very soon after the delivery, most likely within the first three months, or it can develop after some time, say, after a year.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Normally, pregnant women do experience mood changes during pregnancy, a situation closely related to hormonal level changes in response to the needs of the growing fetus. Shortly after delivery, approximately one of two weeks, women may experience certain feelings of irritation, anxiety, restlessness, tearfulness, and the feeling of being abandoned. This kind of emotional shift, in itself, is also considered normal and is even termed as postpartum blues or baby blues.

This normal “baby blues” may deteriorate into postpartum depression if these down and sad feelings do not go away or when the mother starts to exhibit early manifestations of depression.

The exact cause of postpartum depression then may not be solely attributed to hormonal changes or the sudden addition of a new role (parenthood), the cause of postpartum depression may be attributed to several factors that present the risks for this type of condition to develop.

The following can increase the chances of developing postpartum depression:

– Maternal age of below 20

– Alcohol and other illegal substances abuse

– Presence of certain mental disorders before the actual pregnancy (bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder)

– Family history of depression

– Single motherhood due to divorce or separation

– Financial problems

– Lack of support system

– Stressful events prior of during the delivery (death of a loved one, illness in the family, premature delivery, birth defects and death of the baby)

What are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

The symptoms of Postpartum Depression are the same as with the general symptoms exhibited by depression, but with additional manifestations. The following are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

The symptoms of Postpartum Depression are the same as with the general symptoms exhibited by depression, but with additional manifestations. The following are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

– Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness

– Change in appetite, either eating more or eating less than the usual

– Isolation

– Irritability or agitation

– Anhedonia (lack of interest or pleasure in doing most or all kinds of activities)

– Anergia (loss of energy)

– Loss of concentration

– Poor work performance

– Feeling of being abandoned by family members and significant other

– Negative feelings directed to the baby (thoughts of harming the baby)

Anxiety

– Sleeping problems

– Thinking of suicide

– Neglect of the baby

– Being afraid to be alone with the baby

– Have little interest in the baby

Postpartum Depression is diagnosed using a series of tests and observation. The doctor may use a Postnatal Depression Scale questionnaire to signs and potential risks of depression in the patient. Results of medical tests such as a blood test may rule out depression and give the impression that the unfavorable feelings were due to an underlying disease process and not entirely a symptom of depression.

How is Postpartum Depression treated?

The treatment of Postpartum Depression involves the use of pharmacotherapy (medications) or psychotherapy (counseling, behavioral and cognitive therapies). In other cases, the two methods are used together.

A woman diagnosed of Postpartum depression is placed under security observation for at least six months. Aside from the standard treatment modalities, managing depression also needs the support of family members and significant others.

If Postpartum Depression is screened early and the proper management is promptly applied, its symptoms are highly manageable and treatable. On the other hand, although the prognosis of postpartum depression is good, the best option is still prevention of this condition through establishing a strong support system.

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: Pregnancy Tips : How to Know if You Are Suffering From Postpartum Depression | Want To Get Pregnant?

  2. nice page, glad i took the time to read it, if you have more similar articles ill be checking back to read them sometime.

  3. great information, thanks. hope you make some more posts soon.

  4. Anonymous

    I am a survivor of PPD and I’m glad to see information being posted about it. It is such an important topic to know about. Thank you.

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